LBPSB votes to keep Lakeside Academy open

MONTREAL – The Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) voted unanimously to keep Lakeside Academy open indefinitely.

The board considered closing the school last December because of low enrollment, but said it would make a final decision at a later date.

The previous decision to keep the school in limbo was criticized by parents who advocated for the school to be saved as detrimental to student success.

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    A group of parents led by Jennifer Park have worked to improve student enrollment.

    “It’s a big relief, honestly, you have no idea how many people came together to work to get this done,” said Park.

    “A lot of times, people feel that you can’t stand up and you can’t say what you really want and it amazed me that so many people came together and believed that we could do it.”

    The movement began when Park, alongside city councillor Maja Vodanovic, collected 11,582 signatures over 10 days for a petition to save Lakeside Academy.

    READ MORE: After school-saving vote at LBPSB, the hard work begins for parents

    “If Lachine loses an English high school and loses the English population, we won’t be as lucky to know two languages anymore,” Vodanovic said.

    “It’s a loss, it’s a cultural loss.”

    “We never thought ill of the Lester B. Pearson because, in Quebec, we’re having a problem with our English school boards and our enrollment in dwindling.”

    Lakeside Academy has capacity for over 1,000 students, but currently enrolls an estimated 400 students with 85 new secondary students.

    READ MORE: Race is on to save Lakeside Academy

    Plans have also been put forward to open up the school to a community learning centre, as well as other organizations like the Boys and Girls Club to help fill the empty space.

    “The whole issue of closure brought to light some amazing programs that happen at Lakeside, and only at Lakeside,” Lester B. Pearson Chair Suanne Stein Day said.

    “Now, they’re looking at a science concentration, a basketball concentration. Their looking at these possibilities, they’re getting the word out and people are responding positively.”

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